Porsche has built its first variable compression engine.
Engineers have been pondering over the variable compression engine for nearly a century, when Harry Ricardo, a highly esteemed engine designer, and researcher built the first VCR engine in the 1920s. Since then, various automakers have taken up the challenge of turning this technology into an economically viable and reliable offering and it seems like Porsche has taken up the challenge.
The now-defunct Swedish automaker Saab rekindled our interest in the year 2000 when it introduced a VCR engine at the Geneva Motor Show, but bankruptcy and a takeover by GM cut those plans short.
The 2019 Infiniti QX 50 has officially won the title of being the first commercially available car with VCR technology: The compact crossover is powered by a 2.0-liter VC turbo engine which varies the travel distance of the pistons to alter the compression produced. What this means is that the Infiniti QX50's engine can switch between a low compression ratio of 8:1, allowing for more boost pressure, leading to more performance, or it can raise it to around 14:1 for fuel-sipping efficiency.
As with any new technology, there are going to be those who seek to improve on it, and that's exactly what German giants Porsche are planning to do with its newly patented take on the VCR engine.
The Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer has teamed up with specialist engine component design and manufacturing company Halite to produce its first variable compression engine which will not only make the Porsche 911 and its world-famous sports cars faster but more efficient as well.
The idea is to place the small-end bearing on an eccentric adjuster that is controlled by oil-pressure regulated rods on both sides of the main connecting rod. This technique will allow for low compression, high-boost driving, mimicking a large capacity engine, or turn it the other way around for a small capacity turbocharged experience. This technology resembles that found in oil pressure regulated variable valve timing systems as found on Honda's legendary VTEC system.
The system has been officially designed via engineering consultancy Hilite, and the chances of spotting the technology implemented in other internal combustion engine applications are good.